Bruce White, professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering, has been chosen to be the new dean of the College of Engineering. He will hold the position for the next three years starting next month.
White will replace the current dean, Enrique Lavernia, who has been tasked to fill the role of the campus’s provost and executive vice chancellor.
“I felt honored to be asked to be the dean of the College of Engineering and I accepted this position because of the great strength and support of our engineering faculty and staff,” White said.
White came to UC Davis in 1975 as an assistant professor in engineering. From there he climbed the ranks to eventually become a full professor, interim vice provost for academic personnel, associate dean and oversaw the design and construction of three research wind tunnel facilities.
He is well known for his work in the field of wind energy engineering and has worked on several projects including the San Francisco Giants‘ baseball stadium and researching the causes of wind-blown dust pollution in Owens Lake.
“Bruce is an internationally recognized scientist for his outstanding research contributions to the field of wind energy,” said Professor Zuhair Munir, White’s colleague.
Over the course of his time at Davis, he has developed strong relationships with his fellow aeronautical engineering colleagues, two of them being Professor Munir and Professor Case van Dam.
Together they have worked in collaboration on several wind energy projects within the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering.
“He impressed me as being a very thoughtful colleague who cared immensely about the welfare of the department and the college,” Munir said. “His dedication to teaching was well known and for that he was honored with the Magnar Ronnig Award for Teaching Excellence in 1988.“
As dean, White said he plans to continue a strong undergraduate and graduate education to the students. Last year the department received approximately $80 million in research funding, with new awards this year adding up to $100 million.
“It is my goal to continue to support the faculty in their outstanding progress at research funding which helps provide career opportunities for graduate students and undergraduate students in the laboratories,” White said.
In partnership with Professor van Dam, White helped start the California Wind Energy Collaborative in 2002 with support from the California Energy Commission.
CWEC focuses on wind energy related issues in California, in which White has studied looking at how well energy output of wind plant can be predicted ahead of time. He has also studied how wind energy can be used in an urban environment by determining what areas are good and bad to harness energy.
“I think his appointment is very good,” van Dam said. “I think he has a lot of experience not only as acting vice provost, but as associate dean. He understands how [the dean’s office] functions.“
White said he wants to deal with the current economic constraints by protecting the delivery of instruction and academic services. In the long term, he said he will continue to bring the college to the next level of excellence, while also fostering diversity of the faculty and staff.
“Bruce White brings a commitment to the college and a wealth of relevant experience to the deanship,” said Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. “I appreciate his willingness to step in, and I have every confidence he will serve the college and the broader campus very well during his term as dean.“
CORY BULLIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org